(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – Rivers State Government has suspended the total lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas for six days, with effect from Thursday, 21st May 2020.
Governor Nyesom Wike stated this on Thursday in a State-wide broadcast.
“Residents and visitors of these local government areas can therefore go out of their homes for their lawful businesses from tomorrow morning, that is, Thursday May 21 until 8.00 p.m., Tuesday 26th of May 2020, when the lockdown will be restored and maintained until further notice.
“It is important to emphasized that the relaxation only allows for free human and vehicular movements and the opening of limited businesses, such as banks, supermarkets, shopping malls and grocery shops.
“All land, sea and air exit and entry borders and routes into Rivers State shall remain closed.
“Similarly, all open markets, motor parks, hotels, bars, night clubs, in-service restaurants and barbers’ shops must remain shut.
“Religious gatherings of more than 50 persons remain prohibited.
“All public weddings, burials and other social gathering also remain prohibited.
“Private and commercial vehicles, including tricycles must continue to limit the number of passengers to two persons only.
“The wearing of face masks or coverings in public spaces, including commercial and private vehicles remains compulsory as contraveners would be arrested and summarily dealt with as the law demands,” he stated.
The Governor enjoined all residents to continue to maintain social distancing in every space, including vehicles, bank premises and shopping places as required by the subsisting regulations.
He warned that those who refuse to comply with these duly established orders and restrictions would be arrested and prosecuted, as usual, for deliberately endangering themselves and the lives of others in the face of this deadly virus.
“Before long, we will flatten the curve, gradually lift the restrictions, restore normalcy and open up the State fully for business.
“But until then, we will continue to ask for is your patience, cooperation and religious compliance with the established measures to curb the spread of this virus”,he said.
Meanwhile, Governor Wike has inaugurated the State Community Policing Advisory Committee, SCPAC, and State Community Policing Committee, SCPC, with a charge to members to sustain the peace in the state.
The State Community Policing Advisory Committee has 17 members while the State Community Policing Committee has 9 members with the State Chairman of Traditional Rulers Council, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja as Chairman.
Speaking during the inauguration at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, Governor Wike who was represented by the State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, charged members of the committees to discharge their duties according to their constitutional mandate.
Governor Wike also enjoined members of the committees to ensure that the peace already attained in the state is maintained in order to attract investors .
“Rivers State is a peaceful and hospitable state and we will like to see that these committees add value to what the Governor has been doing to keep the peace in the state.
“We will like to assure the committees that the state government is committed to support security agencies in the fight against crime and criminality with the provision of adequate logistics,” he stated.
In his speech, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu represented by the Supervisory Deputy Inspector General of Police, South-South Zone, Anthony Ogbizi Michael said the inauguration marked the commencement of community policing in the state.
While noting that community policing had existed right from the time of the colonial masters, the Inspector General of Police said the inauguration of the committees would be replicated at different levels in the state by the State Commissioner of Police create community ownership.
” Partnering together, solving security problems together, definitely will foster peace, and we will all know were there is peace and social harmony, there will be development,” he added.
Also speaking, the State Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan said the inauguration of the State Community Policing Advisory Committee, SCPAC and State Community Policing Committee is a deliberate move by the Police to bring policing closer to the people.
“The power of Community Policing is derived from the Police Order 291 which deals on Community Policing and empowers the police at all levels to engage in active partnership with law abiding citizens and government agencies to collectively and collaboratively solve problems of crime, he added.
In his response, the Chairman of the State Community Policing Committee, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja lauded the State Governor and the Commissioner of Police for the confidence reposed on members of the committees and assured of their commitment to serve the State.